Late Monday evening Chelisa Grimes received a letter from the Indianapolis School District (ISD) stating that her son, Dynasty Young, has been expelled from Arsenal Technical High School. The expulsion follows an April 16 incident in which Dynasty discharged an electrical self-protection device, which caused no harm, as a way of protecting himself against physical violence.
GLAAD has been working with Dynasty and Chelisa since the news broke about the April 16 incident. Dynasty and Chelisa have shared their story with several local and national media outlets, and GLAAD has been proactive in speaking with many of them to ensure that this story is told accurately and thoughtfully.
Several organizations have issued statements of support since learning that Dynasty has been expelled. Among them: the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Network and the Indiana Youth Group (IYG). Here are those statements:
National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) - statement from Executive Director & CEO Sharon Lettman-Hicks:
“I am horrified at the fact that the school has done absolutely nothing to protect this young man who was bullied and attacked for who he is,” says Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition. “You can’t call for Dynasty to be expelled but not hold your own administration accountable for not addressing this type of harassment.”
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. NBJC’s mission is to eradicate racism and homophobia.
Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Network - statement from Executive Director Carolyn Laub:
“Dynasty, like many other lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young people, was pushed out of school by an administration that failed to keep him safe and by school discipline policies that remove students instead of resolve the problem,” said Carolyn Laub, Executive Director of Gay-Straight Alliance Network. “When schools use a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to school discipline, they unfortunately reinforce an environment of fear and punishment and fail to create a climate of inclusion, safety, and respect for all students.”
Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a youth leadership organization that connects school-based Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) to each other and community resources through peer support, leadership development, and training.
Indiana Youth Group (IYG) - statement from Executive Director Mary Byrne:
“The decision to expel Dynasty is but the latest example of the school administration’s failure to take the problem of bullying seriously,” said Mary Byrne, executive director of the Indiana Youth Group. “We must not cause further harm to Dynasty, and other victims of bullying, by denying them the opportunity to continue their education in a safe learning environment. Instead we must prioritize creating that safe learning environment, rather than punishing students for actions that result out of our failure to do so."
Indiana Youth Group (IYG) provides safe places and confidential environments where self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth are empowered through programs, support services, social and leadership opportunities and community service. IYG advocates on their behalf in schools, in the community and through family support services.